Monday, July 9, 2012

Major League II and III

I'm a big baseball fan and watched these sequels while doing others things, such as catching up on blog posts!

Major League II
Sequels are generally considered to be bad. However, in my experience it seems that for sequels to movies not part of a franchise (such as Star Trek or Batman), the first sequel is usually not as good as the original but not horribly bad either. While this is the case with Major League II, it was still an unnecessary sequel only made to cash in on the success of the first movie.
There was a five year gap between the original and this sequel. David S. Ward returned to direct but didn't write the screenplay this time. Besides Major League, Ward's other claim to fame is winning an Oscar for best writing with The Sting.
Wesley Snipes did not return and Omar Epps takes over his character, Willie Mays Hayes. Chelcie Ross also did not come back and his character is not even mentioned. The two are essentially replaced with more screen time for real life baseball announcer "Mr. Baseball" Bob Uecker, Randy Quaid as self-loathing fan, and a young catcher with a throwing problem played by Eric Bruskotter.
The owner of team from first movie is back but it feels shoehorned in just re-hashes of the scenes from the original.
I noticed that there are more baseball jokes this time around than first movie, though its less realistic about the game later in the movie. The baseball humor is probably why I liked it even though its less focused than the original. I found it pretty funny and the character arcs were done well for what this is.
Major League II was ahead of its time with the depiction of a Japanese baseball player coming to the US to play in the Major Leagues and baseball players selling out by advertising for companies.
Jesse Ventura even has a cameo by way of the film within a film Black Hammer and White Lightning!
Trivia note: The Indians meet White Sox in ALCS. This is the same team the Angels faced in the ALCS in Angels in the Outfield (1994).
If you liked the first or are a baseball junkie like me, its worth a watch.

Major League: Back to the Minors
Although this movie is commonly referred to as Major League III, the number doesn't appear in the title. I guess technically Major League: Back to the Minors is a spin-off. This makes more sense since in the first two Major League movies we follow the Cleveland Indians team but some odd reason the team we follow in this movie is the Minnesota Twins and their minor league affiliate, the Buzz.
I'm not sure why this was made. Major League II didn't so well and the main characters played by Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, and James Gammon are absent. They didn't even bother to re-cast Willie Mays Hayes again as that character gone too. There are some returning characters (Twins Owner Roger Dorn, announcer Bob Uecker, spiritual outfielder Cerrano, Japanese transplant Tanaka, and catcher Rube Baker), but it's still loosely connected to first two movies with little explanation as to why/how these guys left the Indians and got on the Twins.
Scott Bakula does a nice job playing the manager of the Buzz, though it is strange that his character gets the most focus since he is a brand new character to this series. I guess this is because Bakula is the best actor in this movie! Ted McGinley plays the villainous general manager of the Twins and is fun as usual. I guess McGinley dooms not just TV shows but movie franchises too apparently! Though who knows, maybe Charlie Sheen will return for Major League 4!
While there are a decent amount of baseball movies out there, not many are about the minor leagues which puts a different spin. Probably the best film about minor league baseball is Bull Durham (which I saw awhile ago and need to re-watch sometime).
The main story of Major League: Back to the Minors is that of a big league team playing against their farm team. This actually does happen in pre-season exhibition games though never in the middle of the season as depicted in the film. While these movies are unrealistic but until this point usually contained enough real baseball for me, especially the first one. In this movie the Buzz are supposed to be at the AAA level but their stadium looks like a high school baseball field.
While this movie is not too funny as a comedy, Bakula's character is very likeable and easy to root for so at least it works on that level. Major League: Back to the Minors is watchable but not very good and completely unnecessary as feels more like a made for TV movie. This one is for completionists, baseball lovers, and Scott Bakula fans (like me!) only.

No comments:

Post a Comment